Have you ever wondered the impact of toxic behavior in the workplace on mental health? Today, we’re diving deep into this crucial topic, discussing seven damaging behaviors – micro-management, incivility, blame, lack of empathy, self-entitlement, lack of support, and yes, even unrealistic expectations. Using our own experiences, we shed light on the severity of these behaviors and the importance of data-driven reporting in mitigating blame cultures.
We’re joined by Linda, a woman whose career has spanned 49 different jobs within 36 years. Linda opens up about her encounters with toxicity in her work, the effects of her childhood abuse on her perception of toxic behavior, and the importance of mindful communication. She shares how she battled people-pleasing tendencies, discovered her likes and dislikes, and broke through her fears at the age of 51. Her journey and transformation will inspire you to conquer your own fears.
The episode concludes by highlighting Linda’s strategy for personal growth – overcoming one fear each day. Linda shares how this commitment led to remarkable transformation, including interviewing the President of Mexico and learning to navigate judgment and inadequacy. We delve into the significance of reaching out for help when needed, and the liberating realization that everyone has their battles. Tune in for an inspiring conversation about overcoming fears, dominating in your personal and professional life, and maintaining good mental health despite toxic work environments.
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So I’ve actually so for today’s chat I’ve actually got a pregame. I’ve done some research and I have prepared for us a pregame chat.
Okay Are you ready?
Did you chat CPG this?
No, I didn’t.
I’m actually shocked, because that’s like your new favorite thing.
Oh my God, it is my new favorite thing. Honestly, it just does such easy things for me.
Yeah, I mean I’m sure it does.
I was struggling. Just you know, great adverts have said chat CPG wants to sponsor us. That would be nice, that would be cool, that would be cool. So I needed an Excel spreadsheet formula and I used my smart thinking brain and it just wasn’t coming together.
And I asked oh, I’m terrible at Excel, like terrible at Excel. And I was like I really like I’m really struggling with this formula. So I asked chat CPG and it gave me the formula exactly how I wanted it, perfect. And I was like I mean, it is useful. I was like, but it’s so long, no wonder I didn’t have it in my brain anyway so today, today’s pregame chat before we get on our very last episode that we have invented. So we have no idea what we’re getting today. Ooh.
I know this is a little bit of like a dicey time for us.
We’re on the edge, okay. So toxic workplace behaviors that damage mental health. There are a total of seven that this person has raised, and I’m curious. Yeah, I’m curious just to go through them and see how we feel about them before we get Linda on a little bit later. So our seven toxic personality traits that damage mental health.
Yes, let’s hear them. I’m interested Also. I side note based on the books that we I just got. I think I’m going to read Dr Ambers first because I like just flipped through it and she it seems like really interesting Love this already.
I’m so excited.
I know. Okay, all right. What are the seven traits?
What are the seven traits of toxic workplace? All right, I’m going to list all seven and then we can go back and chat about any ones that we think are critical to talk about. So we’ve got micro management in in civility, blame, lack of empathy, self entitlement, lack of support and unrealistic expectations.
Okay, so just off the top, what? What are the ones that jump out at you? Cause I wrote, I wrote down the the three or four that immediately spoke to me.
I feel like we’re both on board with micro management.
And the description here was micro management reduces autonomy and confidence and can lead to a culture of distrust In civility. Staff are ignored, undermined and belittled. Blame there is a culture where individuals are blamed for mistakes. Lack of empathy. Negative judgment is made when people share or talk about struggles. Hmm, okay, self entitlement. Staff are not treated equally. Leaders find themselves superior to others. Lack of support there is a lack of support and care for those who need help and unrealistic expectations. Staff are expected to work long hours and available 24 seven, okay.
So which are your top three?
Micro management, I would say unrealistic expectations and blame Okay.
So my your micro management. Lack of support? Well, lack of support, slash self entitlement and unrealistic expectations.
Ooh, Okay, I’m on board. I’m on board. I’m on board with your decision. I’m on board with yours too.
So talking about micro management I mean, we’ve talked about that so much. It really does remove all autonomy and it makes you feel like like shit. It makes you feel like shit because it’s like why are you checking on that every little thing I’m doing?
And then also, but it comes with that level of blame or judgment If you’re not doing what it is that you’re supposed to be doing. Right, like you’re, you’re trying to truck on and you’ve prioritized things in a way that makes sense to you with the experience that you have, and then you have someone who has less experience coming into micro manage kind of Realistic expectation.
Right, and also like what a waste of time. Oh, what a waste of time, because I would be like in the middle of like, writing a, like a something to somebody that was more important than the question this person’s asking and I have to stop and respond to them. It’s like it was a. It was not my bag, baby, your bag, baby, little Austin powers. That ain’t my bag, baby, okay. So anyway, I, I, yeah, I will. I feel like micro management is like Number one offender and then everything kind of trickles down from there.
I agree, because I think once you have a micro manager, you’ve got this like blame culture as well, and I think blame is the worst, like I, you know I said to, so you know what the blame culture is so easy to fall into.
Just this week I had a really good example in the workplace where I and it wasn’t a toxic, but just to be clear, I was bitching about a reporting structure. That was really I was bitching about a reporting structure that wasn’t giving me information. Like I wasn’t getting information from the report I was receiving, so I couldn’t tell a confidence story about what I, what I was reading, and I was like I don’t understand why this reporting is not giving me the details I need. I need to be able to say X, y and Z. And then the person asked me they’re like oh, is this because so and so didn’t do the reports correctly? I said this has got nothing to do with a person. Like, just take that straight off the table right now. This is to do with data and information that we’re getting in and if the data that’s like.
If it’s like a science based report, it’s there. Where’s the blame? You’re just running numbers. Yeah, you just want numbers.
And I’m like it’s got nothing to do with a person at all, Like I don’t, I’m not a person, like we can’t blame people for this. This is just us not collecting the right information and we’re not running the right report which you could.
If that’s the case, you just go back and rerun it with the right queries.
Yeah, Exactly so. I was like we just have to punch out what the right information is to tell the right story. But how, like I noticed right in that moment, I was like isn’t it interesting how that blame culture, just instantaneously we go to blame someone for a problem.
I think it’s part of just like that fear that I think we as humans have and it’s like we have to kind of do a little extra work to kind of be like no, I’m not going to be scared to tell the truth. I know Like so many times at where you and I met I would be like, nope, that was wrong, I was wrong, you were right. Like I don’t mind fessing up to my mistakes, I have no problems with that. I’ve always been good at like personal self-assessment and situational humility. If I’m wrong, I don’t mind.
Yeah, always, I will heavily take it yeah.
But when I’m right and being told to do it the wrong way or, you know, whatever it may be, that bothers me.
What’s the worst mistake you’ve ever made that you had to own up for? Like work wise, not personalize. What’s the worst work wise you’ve ever made? Well, other than the one the other day.
Which one? Oh yeah, no, that was. I made a Nikolas referring to an accounting thing. I accidentally forgot to record something, but in the end it’s going to be fine. I have to say that it’s the worst thing you’ve ever done. And I think that’s the worst thing I’ve ever done. I think it’s the worst thing that everyone who had affected and they understood, I mean, you know anyway, I think the worst thing I’ve ever done was I think you know this story it’s. I said something to a colleague. I was like this client is fucking annoying. There was a lot of things going on Like why would they go all the way to the bottom of the thread, like I never go to the bottom of the thread.
of any email, I go to the bottom of the thread.
Oh, my God, okay. So somehow they got to the bottom of the thread and they noticed that somebody because it was like from a Gmail account said they’re fucking annoying. I think that was probably the worst thing I ever did.
I mean I tell you my worst, yes, please, no, okay, so I’m going to give you like the high level summary version because it has a bit of context. I don’t know if you’ve ever dealt with mercury contamination, like mercury issues. So mercury evaporates at room temperature and in New Zealand there was an accident where someone dropped a thermometer on the ground and it burst the mercury, but it was one milliliter of mercury and they evacuated the school because it is toxic. And the minute it becomes, the minute it evaporates, it’s toxic. So about a day later I get called in hi, nicola, we’ve just found a container. We’re not sure what’s in it. Can you come check it out? Can you come have a look? And because I’m a hazardous goods handler, I was like, okay, yeah, cool, cool, cool. I get there and it’s two kilograms, so like four pounds of mercury, just in a plastic container, like in an ice cream tub.
Was this at a thermometer manufacturing plant? Why?
did they have this? It was a school like it was a university.
So maybe for like experiments and stuff.
The mercury should not leave. So what had happened? We did a bit of deep diving and what had happened was the previous incumbents in my role had they had been an incident where they dropped like industrial grade thermometers that have quite big bulbs. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And he just scooped it up with his hands and put it in their hands, bare hands, and put it in this ice cream container. But why so many questions I don’t have answers to, anyway. So now I’m in the situation and I’m like, okay, well, we need to call you know hazmat, and we need to. Yeah, cool, because we evacuated and tie a school with one milliliter one little tiny bit.
Yeah, like a drop, and now I’ve got four pounds of it and there’s like a evaporation watermark as well and I was like how much of this has evaporate, like how long has this been here? And I’d say that was my biggest mistake, is I? I essentially did everything I could to keep it out of the press and kind of sweep it under the rug.
So what would you have done differently?
Oh, I for sure would have not. I would have evacuated that entire school if I could have.
And would you have been honest about it in the press? Yeah, yeah, I mean, what I learned is never put anything in writing that you don’t want to be published, like like, if you don’t want another front page of the New York Times, don’t write it. That’s what I learned and this is true. Like I can, like on off time hours I can complain about a client or something like this client was was probably being like very nitpicky about something very simple, but I say it in an email never write it down in black and white.
You can say it, you know, but, and it’s probably better to just be grateful that you have clients, you know one of those is batteries. Hello.
Hi, oh, my goodness.
Hello Linda, how are you?
Hello, I’m doing great. How are you ladies doing?
Yeah, we’re going, we’re getting going.
Let’s go Gosh. I started this zoom. It just was not, it was not loading, and I was like that happens sometimes.
It’s annoying. Yeah, where are you calling us from?
San Diego California.
So, Linda, how did you find us? What do you plan to talk to us about? Give us a little bit of a lowdown.
You know, I don’t remember how I found you. I have, you know, somebody on my team that’s out there finding, you know, opportunities for me. So it was probably through them, because I do reach out and they do reach out and stuff. Okay, one of my favorite topics to talk about is breaking through fear. I broke through a fear every single day for a year in 2015 and I was 51 years old. So that’s a really great topic, because we all have fear. We all have fear. I had 49 jobs in 36 years, so I’ve got lots of stories. I got stories for days about toxic.
Oh my God, Linda, that just made me laugh so hard.
It’s true, that’s the worst part, is true.
Turning. I’m curious to know right off the bat, though, turning through so many roles, were you the toxic person?
I know and that was the question I started as, actually, as I was filling out your form, because it reminded me specifically one story of a gentleman that was extremely toxic. And then, as I was writing the story about him, I was asking myself that same question like 49 jobs Was I the toxic person? It’s possible I was. I was a very negative person for decades. I grew up in abuse. Like we’ll get into all that.
So I mean, I love that you you’re willing to own that, because I know, like we talk about it all the time on the podcast, that we’re someone’s toxic person somewhere. You know in someone’s story we’re the toxic person.
Oh for sure. Yeah, I was probably toxic to the gentleman that I will be sharing about.
Oh, okay. So do you want to get into that story or do you want to play with something else?
Oh yeah, let’s prelude it with that, because it’s a toxic story, you know, it’s a really great place to start.
What industry were you in? What role did you have at this position? You don’t have to name the actual company if you don’t want to, or you can if you want to. Whatever you want to do, yeah.
I don’t remember the name of it. You know, with 49 jobs is hard to remember what the names of all the jobs are, but it was. It was in the legal field. I was a legal secretary for that little over 20 years and I had worked at several different law jobs and this particular firm. There was just this one guy who was very toxic to everybody, and in particular his secretary. And I remember one day and I just stayed away from him because he actually terrified me as what it was. I just didn’t want to be anywhere near him. Anytime he talked I just went into like hives, you know it was. I was a nervous wreck around him.
But one day I was talking to a secretary because I was training her on something I was like the trainer of. You know all the systems and everything and I was training her and he walked over and he didn’t see me because I was leaned down and I was. I was leaned down, I was looking up at her computer and so he didn’t see me that I was behind the computer screen. And he came and he said I don’t remember what he said to her, but I remember that it was so extremely condescending. I stood up for me Because she told me he was coming. So I even duck, you duck even deeper down because I didn’t want him to see me, you know. And so I stood up and I said don’t you ever talk to her that I was so mad, just live it that he had the guts to talk to her that way. And he looked at me and he said don’t you tell me how to treat my secretary like that. She was a secretary, yeah.
I was condescending. Ew, he was awful, awful. So I I turn around and I walked away and he goes where are you going? Yelling at me in the office and you know, usually you don’t have this kind of behavior in a law firm. So he’s yelling at me where are you going? I said I’m going to go tell the manager what just happened. She’s not even here, she’s on vacation. He said, and I go no, the replacement is here and I’m going to go talk to her. So it was.
It was scary for me to do that, but I’m so glad I did. I stood up for her night. Here was the thing that was really fascinating to me. Later, as I started talking to the secretary about it, she goes I didn’t even know he was condescending and I think that sometimes in life we’re treated so poorly on a regular basis that we don’t even know it’s happening. And that was what I kind of got out of that. That whole story I’ll share with you. What happened is my HR person ended up calling our corporate office, which was in a different state. They flew out to San Diego in order to meet with him and every single employee got all of our stories and they literally got him squared away. They told him get squared away in a month or you’re out.
And he had worked there for 16 years If you got squared away If this wasn’t an employment facility. I feel like the irony twist here would be ridiculous.
Okay, it wasn’t Okay.
I was like I’m on board because the irony I would love that.
I would live for that irony. Yeah, okay, but yeah, so did he shape up or ship out what happened to him?
He’s shaped up. He’s shaped up, and so it was just from calling him out. I didn’t think he would. I really didn’t think he would, but he did. He shaped up and we ended up having conversations with each other and he played saxophone, I played flute, and so during the Christmas, like our Christmas party, we all did some music and he and I actually stood next to each other. So the whole environment, for me at least, shifted just because I stood up for somebody. I was scared, but I did it. You know, mm, hmm.
So did he treat you like? Do you think he had a resentment towards you or did? Or, if he did, he hit it well.
If he did, he hit it really well.
Yeah, he actually thanked me for calling him out.
So why do you think he was like that? Like do you think there was something going on personally with him, or he was frustrated with something at the job, like usually it’s a reason that you don’t know, because it’s not really personal, right? It’s like usually they’re reacting to something. These toxic people are reacting to something within themselves or that’s happening to them. So what do you think it was?
Well, I can only state that what I know is hearsay, because it didn’t come from him and I don’t know the facts about it. I was told, though, that he was on some kind of medication for personality. What do you call?
Personality and he hadn’t been taking his medication. That’s what I was told. I don’t know if it’s a truth or not, or somebody was just spreading rumors, but I was like, oh, that makes a lot of sense. I mean, I feel like wherever there’s smoke, there’s fire.
So maybe you didn’t get the correct story, but you got like the gist of it, like maybe he was on medication for whatever depression anxiety. Stop taking it, I mean. I’m much more irritable when I’m feeling anxious and depressed, so I mean yeah. I mean, well, I’m glad that, if that was true, I’m glad he got back on the medication, because sometimes people need medication to function properly in society. So yeah, and I’m one of those people.
Yeah you know, what people are like. Please get back on your medication.
Yeah, I just become like non-functioning. I don’t eat, I just like waste away in bed. Um super fun time.
Yeah, okay. What is the next? What is the next toxic workplace? You have up your sleeve, linda. What is it?
It was job number 18. I just Do you remember this Like they probably blend together. I do remember I’m able to Compartmentalize them. You know each of them, but I don’t know in in the exact order that they. One year I had eight W2s, you know. So I had eight jobs in one year and so that was like an easier to kind of like take me over the double digits.
You know, but um yeah, I just like a shitty year for employment, or what year was it? Was it a recession? Was there any?
No, no, I just Um, I easily got bored. You know, I just had these very simple, mundane jobs when I was, you know, kind of like at the beginning of my, my work life, a lot of, you know, just simple, mundane jobs, and I got easily bored, not realizing that I, I was actually a creative person. I didn’t know this about myself because, you know, I grew up in a very volatile, abusive, alcoholic household. My dad was a narcissist, a gaslighter, and I learned those behaviors from him, you know. So I became a little bit like him. He was like a little bit of that kind of stuff. So we’re talking about toxicity earlier. We’re talking about were you the toxicity?
in the environment to have 49 jobs, and I probably was in some way. You know I did. I did do a lot of things that now I look back and like, wow, I can’t believe I was like that, because I’m nothing like that today, you know, like a backstabber talking behind people’s backs and the gossip I was, you know, one of those that was gossiping and doing all that stuff. So that is possible that all of that stuff just made me Not want to be around where I was because I left every job. I was only laid off one time. Other than that, every job was my choice to leave. I was never fired.
So I don’t know, Maybe I was, maybe I wasn’t.
But I would say I would say, just by maybe taking a job that you knew you weren’t totally into, that could lead to its own brand of toxicity, because it’s like you’ll get bored, you’ll start yeah, you’ll start gossiping, you know. So it’s like that. You know everyone has a part to play in every situation that they’re in. So I Ask everyone who comes on our podcast like what do you think your part was in that dynamic?
You know, so I think for you it sounds like you were just knowingly taking jobs, probably because you needed to support yourself, that you weren’t like, you knew in the back of your mind You’re only gonna be there for like two months or something. You know you were like I’ll take it now and see, see if I can get something better or somewhere else, or something like it’s Right now. Yeah, it’s okay for right now.
We I always was back in those days we had something called a newspaper. You know when you actually like have this paper and it got all.
Do you think we are?
now all. Do you think we are Speaking for the audience? You know, I don’t know, maybe there’s a 10 year old this thing right now, who knows?
10 year old is listening. I’m fucking concerned. Toxic workplace that they’ve been in, oh my god, yeah, child labor and he’s like I need to get out of my toxic workplace.
No, nicholas, that’s, that’s highly illegal. It’s like anything. Yeah, how do it would be like your son or my daughter being like mom creates a toxic workplace in the house.
I’m confident my child would say that, considering I make him do so many chores.
I mean single moms. We have a different plate, right, okay, so.
Yeah, I don’t remember um.
But it was. You know the papers, newspapers and newspapers classifies, right, that’s where you’re going. I got some of my first jobs via the newspaper classified ads, please.
A lot of my jobs, a lot of my jobs to that. Well, you know, what I did is, every single week we got those classifies, you know, in the paper, and every single week I would go through them and look through, go help wanted. So I was always searching for another job. It was even when I got a job I was still searching, and it wasn’t that like this was my plan to keep getting new jobs, right, just, I would see a job and I like who that sounds interesting, go apply, and I would get, I would get hired and I would go, you know, and I just and was interesting about it.
For me, though, is all the different jobs I’ve had is, you know, each job has led to the next, to the next, really, and then the things I’ve learned, because I have had so many jobs, I’ve worked with so many different personalities, thousands and thousands of different personalities, and I was always the trainer, like I, was always the one training all the employees, like I, you know, doing the computer training, because I was really good at that and I probably learned a good.
You know, 80 to 100 different programs, you know just that, were specific to different companies, just by having all those jobs, and so I trained on all those, those programs, and so the amount of knowledge that I gained and the things that I learned, you know, by having all those jobs, was actually a blessing, because all of that stuff led me to what I’m doing today, which is book publishing, and I use all of those skills that I’ve learned how to communicate with people, how to train people, you know how to organize people. Being a secretary, I had some of the companies our law firm was with working for was like Microsoft, you know, qualcomm, like these huge, huge corporations, and I was organizing, you know, teams of 30 lawyers. So so all of that stuff that I learned, I’ve pulled it all into my business, which is really cool because it makes me a much, much better business owner.
That makes sense. It makes sense because I think you know those are soft skills, those are transfer, transferable, transfer, it’s transferable, transferable soft skills. Right, you’ve got those skills that you have that you can do and everybody can do, like we can all do, computers pretty much. But then there’s those soft skills around training and developing people and you know, using those to be able to, you know, transfer them over to the work that you’re doing now I think is a skill in itself.
Yeah, it’s been. It’s been amazing, you know, okay, so.
What, yeah? So what was your, your next most toxic Workplace experience? I?
was. I remember this job like I was only there for about three days because, well, see that when I was interviewed I was promised it was right around Thanksgiving time here in the US and I was promised that even though I was starting the week of Thanksgiving and things news. So I started on Monday. Thanksgiving was Thursday and Friday. I was promised that I would get those days off with pay, but when I got my paycheck, which was the following Monday, they paid us. Those days weren’t in that pay. So I went to the manager. I said, hey, when we, when you interviewed me, you said I would be getting paid for these Days. And he goes.
I never said that and it was in writing, like I had it in writing and he so he, just ball of place lied to me and I, like I do not work with liars, so what I did that day is I I work the morning and then at lunchtime, and my friend got me the job, by the way, and I was working with her and I just said, just so you know, I’m not coming back from lunch, okay. And then I said to the manager I said, hey, I’ll see you after lunch and like I just like, I just lied to him like I knew I wasn’t coming back, but I just walked out of there and I I went straight to an employment agency and got a job the next day.
Like where jobs were aplenty and like yeah. I was just recently, like Trying to get consulting work like almost a year ago now, just to kind of during like the after COVID slump, like it hit my company really hard. So my I wasn’t making as much money as I once had, and it took me like six months to find a consulting gig, like it was awful and I interviewed so many great companies and I don’t know, I don’t know what. What happened?
I guess I know, and then you ended up in our toxic company. Please, babe, it was terrible, it was terrible.
I was like I’d rather have less pay and not like I’d rather be just scraping along right now than deal with Whatever this is. But okay, you said you don’t work with liars, but then you lied to the boss what? What are your feelings on that now?
Yeah, at the time I didn’t even realize what I was saying. So you know, it’s a again, you know I, having grown up in that environment, I grew up in like I was. I was a liar, I was toxic, myself, very toxic. I was very judgmental, call people names all the time, call them out, and and I would go tattle-tattle on people you know. And so I did all that stuff and and so sometimes, you know, we don’t see who we are. You know, because we’re too busy looking at others. And that’s what I was doing. I was looking at the other people, not looking at myself. I didn’t really start to look at myself until I was age 51.
So I spent a lot of years, that was a 2015. Okay, so it’s pretty safe to say, linda, and you can hate me for this it sounds like you were the toxic one.
Possibly I was a toxic person. For sure I Would say that.
And you know it’s like everywhere you go. There you are. So if you’re toxic, if you know you’re toxic and you’re going to work, I would say there’s a 99.9% chance that you’re being toxic without even meaning to. It’s not like you werea. Malicious. That’s just the headspace you were in. I mean, I get it, you know.
Yeah, I get that too. Like you know you’re not feeling your best self and you’re not feeling your you know, you know that there’s these traits that you’ve brought from like a generational trauma, and now you’re bringing those with you into the workplaces that you’re going into.
Yeah, yeah, I didn’t even know I was doing it right, because I didn’t, because I never looked inward, I Always. So what made you look inward? Well, when I was driving to my 49th job Working for a judge, working for a judge in the court of appeals, I had worked my way up the ladder in the legal field, you know, to work for the, the number two judge in the entire, the entire circuit here. And as I was driving to work that job I was probably about there for about eight months or so I realized how bored I was. Again, like it happened, I got myself into this job where I was just like I can do it with my hands, you know, behind my back. I mean, it was so easy and that job was that job. I wouldn’t say it was like toxic, toxic, but it was toxic for me.
You know the the environment of You’re not allowed to talk to any. I was not allowed to talk to anybody unless it was specifically only related to a case. That was the judge’s rules, like, and so you had to follow the judge’s rules and and so for me that was like putting me in a cage, because I’m a very social person, I love to talk to people. So I was driving to work one day and I was just like I don’t. I don’t, like I hate this job. I don’t understand. Like why am I doing this? Why am I doing this to myself and just asking what’s my purpose? Why am I here? I’m so worthless. I have no value. There is no reason for me to be here. All I do is push papers around for a judge. That’s all I do. And I’m like, as a matter of fact, why is this whole planet here? I don’t understand. I was just really angry about life. Like why is this whole stuff here? Why are we even doing this?
You know, and when I got to work that day, there was a Facebook post from a woman who said I’m a life coach. I took some time off. I’m getting it back into it. I’m looking for five women who want to change their lives. And I saw that and I was like I want to change my life. I didn’t know what a life coach was, but I want to change my life. And so I ended up reaching out to her and I ended up hiring her and that was the start. That was the first time in my life that I ever really looked at myself by having help. You know, having somebody help me. I never asked for help prior to that, so that was really the door opener to everything. Everything that I’m doing right now is as a result of me working with her.
Wow, okay. So what did she offer you Like? What kind of tools did she offer you to look inwards and then, like you know, course change or come correct in terms of your toxic thoughts and potential behaviors?
So many, but the ones that really stand out the most were. You know, I didn’t really know who I was. I was a people pleaser, you know. I ran away when I was five years old. Yeah, I ran away when I was five years old and I was gone for a week Because I was running out of that, running away from that toxic home, right, and then, when I came back, I became riddled with fears and I became a people pleaser and I lived my life that way, as a people pleaser. And so when I started working with my life coach, one of the tools that she gave me was to look at myself and discover what is it that I absolutely love doing, what is it that I absolutely hate doing and what is it that I like doing because I spent my life. If you loved it, I loved it. If you hated it, I hated it. I just followed the crowd Very independent.
Yeah, oh extremely. So once you’ve had like a narcissistic parent, as you said you have, one of those traumas is a hyper independence. You don’t ask help from anyone, which you’ve already stated. The other one is that you know you’re so cautious about what they like and what they need. You then transfer that into all your relationships going forward as well. Those narcissistic parents man, they fucked you up.
Going back to Linda, you get these tools from your life coach. You start to figure out what you like, what you don’t like, or and what you love, and where does that lead you?
Yeah, what that led me to was to actually really to dive deep down inside and and ask myself am I doing this because they want me to, or am I doing this because I want to? Am I saying yes because I want them to like me, or am I saying yes because I actually want to do it? Do I really want to say no here? But I’m saying yes, you know. So it really started me.
Yeah, that’s big just asking questions.
That’s all. That’s really what it did is, as started me asking different questions, which I never did about yourself like to yourself.
Yeah, when I learned that no is a complete sentence, it changed my life. Like I don’t have to explain why I’m not coming, I can’t make it. The answers no, like that’s it. You know, you don’t owe anyone an explanation and I was codependent for a period of my life because I had this sister who, whatever her mood was, I had to balance it out. She was acting up, I had to be like the peacekeeper or whatever. So I get that, but I don’t think I people please that all. Now. I think I’ve swung completely to the opposite direction. Yeah, which is probably a trauma response, but I’d much rather be the opposite direction than be codependent, because the amount of emotional, like upheaval on like a five minute circle, like you know, think it just happens. It’s just you exhausted and you’re just like you don’t know what’s going on. So you’re just saying yes to everything or whatever, like I deeply identify with that. So did you start saying no to a lot of things?
I started saying no to a lot of things but also saying you know what I’m going to think about that? First, instead of being reactionary and because I used to be very reactionary and just say yes, and then what would happen is the meantime I’m back here like overloading myself and I’m just so stressed out and and I’m just like I can’t fulfill, you know, for anybody, and then I’m stressed because I can’t please it. So I was like like this is the spiral.
It’s never ending circle, it just it’s very cyclical you’re just like in it and it’s hard to get off. It’s like a merry go round. So what else?
theory at all, it’s just a go around. Let me show you one of the techniques that I learned, which I thought was awesome. It wasn’t for my life coach someone else, though, because I have a lot of mentors and coaches in my life now, because I do ask for help a lot now and one of the techniques I learned was that, when somebody asked you to do something, instead is say you know what, that doesn’t really fit for me right now, but let me, I will let you know if I run across somebody that can help you or I will. I will look for you to see if, like, maybe I have somebody in my toolkit that can help you, but I don’t always have to be the one that does it. Maybe sometimes I’m just going to do it to direct them right. The collaborator.
I mean, I think that’s valid because it’s like, just like you’re trying to create boundaries, those people you know they’ll mirror you, like, on a certain level, if you’re creating a boundary, hopefully they will mirror that back. I mean, I think you get into the whole toxic boss thing when they don’t understand boundaries or they don’t have them, you know. But once you start having hard lines and boundaries Usually a course correct others around you who are not, you know, suffering from some kind of diluted mentality or whatever, thinking that they’re the best at whatever they do, you know.
So do you?
find that that happened.
Yeah, definitely setting my own boundaries. It’s been interesting because my daughter she’s almost 40. I’m going to be 60 in a couple of weeks. She’s almost 40. We had this headbutting relationship for almost all of our years, until about four years ago three or four years ago it’s after I started my personal development she was seeing me do this, make these shifts and stuff. At the beginning, she didn’t like it, because I was becoming new, yeah, and I wasn’t, as I didn’t say yes all the time. That’s people who you say yes to all the time don’t like it when you say no. Of course, they have to become kind of accustomed to it. Recently, though, I saw her doing a Facebook Live, and it was really cool because she was using some of the language that I’ve learned on this journey of going inward and all these kinds of things, and I’m like, oh, my little girl, she’s growing up, it’s so awesome. I’m not helping her, because if I do, she’ll run the other way. So I’m emulating something and she’s catching some of it, which is just really awesome.
It’s like promotion by attraction, like she sees the change in you so then she’s going, probably not even realizing it. It’s rubbing off on her. My relationship changed significantly with my own mom after my dad passed away, because it was a very traditional marriage and his say was final and now that she has more autonomy she’s willing to like I’m a single mom. She helps me with certain things, like monetarily, especially during COVID when my company was hit really hard. She’s helped me and our relationship has changed because my mom never had the chance to help me in the past.
They one time told me to go to Catholic charity. My dad told me go to the charities if you need financial help and I was like thanks, dad. Meanwhile, yeah, it was like you bring us into this world. We didn’t ask to be brought here and then you’re just hanging us out to dry Like thanks, but yeah, so I think the change within us attracts people. Yeah, you know, it’s like I see the change in my mom. I’m much more willing to have open and honest conversations with her and it sounds like similar to your daughter.
Yeah, yeah, you just reminded me of something. When I know we’re allowed to cuss here because you did Nicola earlier, you’re like I did.
I told Nicola on the podcast not that long ago to go fuck herself. So, yeah, you can curse. I was like Nicola, you’re wrong, go fuck yourself. And I was like okay. She was like okay, got you, fine, fine.
I’m out, I’m out.
Well, she was like you’re right, she went along with it Anyway so yes, please curse.
When my dad was on his deathbed he had had 86 heart attacks from his pacemaker. His pacemaker kicked in every single time, 86 times. So my dad and my mom walked into the hospital on Thursday and then Friday morning my dad passed away after 86 heart attacks. Well, when the family showed up as kids you know, the siblings all showed up I was like 86 heart attacks, like mom, you got to tell them to, just like, disconnect his pacemaker. Tell them to. She was so controlled by my dad that she couldn’t make that decision Because every decision she made in their 55 years was the wrong decision. And so she couldn’t make that decision. And so I was the one I went and I told the doctor. I said go ahead and turn off his pacemaker. He took that last breath and I’m standing right next to my mom and she says, thank God, the bastard is dead. Oh wrong, that’s when my dad took his last breath. 55 years of living in the hell. Yeah, like such incredible freedoms yeah.
So he was on a pacemaker like that. Yeah, for about a year and a half the last year and a half of his life he was on a pacemaker. Yeah, Okay, 86 heart attacks. Can you imagine, like, oh my gosh, how much longer were we going to let him go? I mean, even though you know, I didn’t like my dad and he was a bastard, I just I didn’t want that.
You know, I don’t want that for anything, fun fact about pacemakers and heart attacks is they actually decrease your short-term memory. So you have zero short-term memory when you have a pacemaker and a heart attack. Oh really, was he like losing it, or was he?
just was it just the heart? He was not losing it mentally, just the heart.
Well, he didn’t really have a heart to begin with, but Like, anatomically it was just his heart.
Yeah, it was just his heart, yeah.
It was a lump of coal with a pacemaker.
Oh my gosh.
So did your relationship with your mom change after your dad passed away?
It did a little bit, but not a whole lot, because I started and that was before I went through this personal development stuff, and that was I was like, wow, how could you put up with that for so long? I didn’t know, I knew she didn’t like him but I didn’t know she felt that strongly to him because she my mom never said anything bad about people. She just held it all in, you know, and, and so I just started looking at it. It’s like why did you stay with him that long? You were so weak, you know, and I really blamed him for that. And I really blamed my mom so much for staying with him, because many times she would pack up us kids to run away, but then we would go right back home. I remember when I was I was like eight years old and we had all of us packed in the panel station wagon.
Oh yeah, we had one of those too.
Go to the. Go to the bank, Pull out all the money. No seat belts.
Yeah, we call the back of the way back the way back seat right. And we went to the bank to take out all the money and when my mom came out of the bank, my dad was there and she hopped in the car and we drove back home, you know. So there were so many of those types of things that happened that I just I had so much resentment for her while she was still alive. She only lived another three years after he passed away. Okay, she got cancer. She got cancer. Like right as he was hearing the end of his life, she got cancer.
Yeah, I mean living with all of that toxicity. I think it can?
He was cancer.
It can become physical. I mean, we’re not psychologists or doctors, but I had, like what we’ve been talking to other people who have had burnout from toxic workplaces and it does become physical. It’s like you can’t concentrate, you’re, you can’t do anything in a normal period of time because you’re like your mind is just going. So I mean, I get it, yeah. So so what other things did you do in your, your that year that you kind of looked in words and figured out who you were and what you wanted?
Yeah, that after working with my life coach.
I worked with her for five months and then after that I had gotten addicted to something different, and that was called positivity.
You know, I had never been around positive, motivational, inspirational people before, but I got addicted to it because she really helped me to to see who I am and see that there was so much more for me out there that I do have a purpose, there is a reason for me to be here and there’s something more for me to go and find out what that is. So in 2015, on January 1st, I woke up that morning and I was like, wow, I just love what I’ve done with her, but I want to keep going. I want to keep going and growing. And so I decided to break through one fear every single day that year, and that was. That was like I can’t even explain the transformation that happened for me and with you for me that year, because it’s so astronomical you can’t even imagine how your life would change when you walk us through maybe one or two fears that you walked through that changed you for the better?
Yeah, Because once you like fear, you feel the fear, but do it anyway it is. It is a very like watershed momentum Moment, almost, you know or like have those realizations as a result of walking through the fear. Yeah, so can you tell us that?
Feel the fear and go for. It was my mantra from probably 16 to 25, before it was even popularized.
Wow, yeah, that’s awesome, I mean.
So I heard this thing recently that fear is courage walking, and that stuck with me because it was like that’s, that is what it is Like. You feel the fear, but you do it anyway, and you know, all growth comes on the other side of pain or discomfort. Right, like most of my personal growth has been a result of emotional pain. Like I’m in so much emotional pain I don’t know what to do and the only thing I can change is myself. I can’t change the carpet of the world that I can put on different slippers. So that is that needs to be a t-shirt. Yeah, so it’s like, if the carpet’s like that scratchy, like retan carpet that some people have, and like I’m wearing like bare feet, let me just put on some nice, like you know, sheepskin slippers. I’m going to feel so much better about everything. So tell us what some of those fears that you walked through were.
Yeah, definitely. Well, first of all, I created a different saying, and that’s to do it because you’re scared, not in spite of the fear, because to me that’s an more of an empowerment move, because, you know, 99% of the fears that I broke through, the results that I got were either way better than I ever imagined. A door was open that I didn’t even know was closed. I ended up meeting some absolutely incredible people because I walked through that door of fear, and so I now I say, oh, that’s just fear, I’ve got to. I have to do this because I’m scared, because I don’t know what’s going to be on the other side. And then also, like that proverbial comfort zone thing, you know doesn’t mean it’s comfortable, it’s just a place of comfort like we’re used to it, like my mom was with my dad 55 years of that was a comfort zone for her, and then I just stretch out of it. And so one thing I realized is, by breaking through so many fears, that my comfort zone just kept enlarging, enlarging, enlarging. So those things that I used to be scared to do I’m no longer scared to do. They’ve actually become part of my comfort zone.
So what I did is, every morning when I woke up for 365 days in a row. The first thing I would do before I got out of bed is just ask myself a question what scares me? And I would lay in bed and I would wait until the very first fear popped into my head and my commitment to myself it was a commitment was to break through that fear that day. And I didn’t know what the fears were going to be. There was no plan, no plan of action, except to ask a question and see what came up. And so some days it was something like go talk to a stranger in a Starbucks, go to the movie theater by yourself. You go grocery shopping by yourself, go go to a restaurant and say, like how many in your party One you know that was? Those are all big deals for me.
Those are so many good things that I love to do because I’m such an introvert like.
I love it.
And going out to eat alone we’ve talked about we talked about this with Joanna, the expert on introverts and extroverts is like my dream. It’s like I feel like I’ve made it like take myself to a nice restaurant and just like sit there and people watch. Watch a treat, just kiss.
Basically now. Okay, see, part of what you just said was the reason I had the fear of it. You said and people watch. See, my fear was that if I go there by myself, that people are going to look at me and say, oh poor thing, she’s all by herself, she has nobody.
That’s what nobody cares that much about us.
Well, but not only that. This is what I started looking at is that I was thinking that of people who were by themselves. So I was thinking people were thinking that about me, right? So really like pointing the finger back at myself, and so what I came to the conclusion, you know, about six months into breaking through these different fears that you guys love, but they were terrifying for me.
Yeah, I mean I had to work up to that place. It wasn’t like I was born.
So, yeah, like, because I used to have that thing too, like where I’d be like people think I’m a loser. But the older I got I was like nobody. First of all I realized I’m not that important. I’m the most important person in my narrative, but I’m not in anyone else’s. You know, maybe my daughter is, but that’s it. So I had to realize that. You know, I had this thing where I was like an egotistical, like piece of shit. So I was the biggest piece of shit in the room. I’m bigger than everybody else, but I hated myself. So once I kind of like turned that narrative and I was just like no, nobody cares about me. Like it was really freeing, because it’s not that nobody cares, it’s just that I’m not the center of everyone’s narrative or everyone’s universe, and that’s okay. Why would I want to be for sure, like I don’t want to be so?
I had to work up there to that point.
Yeah yeah, once I got there I was like this is like once. I started traveling on my own for work, before I had my own company and I was forced to. It was that I was. I had no choice, I had to do it anyway. So I had to walk through the fear and then I realized I fucking love traveling alone, I love being alone, like this is my jam. But like you, I had to be forced to do it, left to my own devices. I don’t know if I’d ever know that about myself, you know.
Yeah, well, I love it now. Now I actually am, I actually enjoy more going by myself, because I’m not because that people please are person, right, I needed to please them. If I went somewhere with somebody else, I always had to do what they wanted to do and I never got to do what I wanted to do. So it’s completely shifted for me. It just it took later in life for me to get to that point. You know, 51 years old, but one of the greatest, greatest, greatest discoveries that I made during that time is that the fear of judgment was my greatest fear and because that was my greatest fear, I could work out on that, like that one thing. And if that was my greatest fear and I could kind of like extinguish that or at least minimize it to a great degree, then my life would shift. And that’s exactly what has happened. I mean, it’s been. It’s been absolutely amazing Some of the things that have happened to me. You, because I I no longer have that fear of judgment. It’s been just absolutely incredible.
So do you think that was? If, once you realize that was your biggest fear, you realize why you had been so judgmental, you were probably striking first right.
Yeah, let me judge them before they judge me, but most people have so many other things going on in their personal life. Again, you’re not that important, right? But because you’re doing that, you think everybody else is. So it’s like such a mind fuck in so many ways, like I was I identify with, like being super judgmental because I was scared. I was scared that people were looking at me and saying she’s ugly, she’s this, whatever. Because I grew up with that narrative from the narcissist sister telling me how ugly and fat and stupid I was and I couldn’t be further from all of those things. But I had internalized it, so I get it.
Yeah, you know yeah, that’s exactly what it was. You know, I especially my ex husband ever, on a daily basis, just pounded into my head how stupid and ignorant I am, you know. And so I really thought I was stupid and ignorant and so I wouldn’t even talk in front of most people, because what if I said something stupid? And then they caught on to me that I really was ignorant. I didn’t know anything about anything, right? So I I walked around again with that belief of myself and I remember what.
There was this one event I attended and and I walked in the door and I saw this woman standing on the other side of the room and she was just immaculate. She looked, she was perfectly dressed, her hair was perfect, everything was just so perfect about her. And I saw her over there and I looked at her and I had an immediate sense of judgment. But then I caught myself and I said let’s look for for all the amazing things about her. So when I first saw her, I was like you know, who does she think she is like that?
That was my initial react reaction. But then I’ve moved out of I shouldn’t say I’ve moved out of but I’m working on, continually working on moving out of reaction and into response. I’m not having responses rather than reaction, because response requires thought. And so I looked at it and I ended up just walking right over and turn and say I just got to tell you that you are absolutely beautiful, like you are stunning. I saw you the second. I walked in the room and I just wanted to tell you and she was like, oh, thank you so much. She was very shy and so, who knows?
what’s going on in her world, like the ugliest fattest, this most shabbily dressed person there, yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m feeling like should herself. Yeah yeah. But like, how great is that to? So another little trick I learned because I’m not really as outgoing as I might seem on this podcast. Yeah, so I want to be left alone all the time and not bothered by anyone. But, um, so I learned people love to talk about themselves. So if you’re ever in like a weird social situation and you don’t know what to say.
Just ask them like how is your day, what do you do for work? And you don’t even have to listen to what they say, it’s just you know are going today.
What do you like about your life? Like all of these things that make people feel like they’re being listened. To hold on, I just have to pee.
Okay, and also like complimenting people is a great way.
You know definitely.
Yeah. So what happened? Did you end up talking to this immaculately dressed woman?
That was it. I just walked over her to say that you know, it’s kind of like a fear of mine. And so I just, you know, break. Now I break through fears on a regular basis because, like I said, you know, do them because you’re scared. I don’t remember her name or anything, I just remember that situation because it was so, it was so prominent to me that I had that shift in that moment. That’s what the the big deal was for me is that I judged and then I said wait a minute, let’s look for the good things. And that was exactly what happened in that moment for me.
And that was funny, that all of the judgmental things were really just a reflection of the good things that you were most like like because you were, you grew up the way you did. It was probably just like you feeling a deficit in yourself or just jealousy, right. So it’s like once you turned the narrative, you were able to make it a positive experience for not only yourself, but for this woman who is probably feeling shitty standing in the corner by herself because nobody’s approaching her. Yeah, she’s impeccably dressed. I would love someone exactly ideas like that. Do you think anyone would ever describe me like that? Nicola Standing in the corner immaculately dressed.
Oh, please. I saw you in Las Vegas, babe, trying on your stupid gumboots. I, or whatever the fuck those shoes were, I was there for that and you were immaculately dressed. I was in sweats and a jumper. Please, I. Was not immaculately dressed, but the night before you were more immaculately dressed than I was, in my sweats and jumper.
Probably that’s true, but you don’t always dress like that. Where does this leave you now, linda? So you’ve had this like radical transformation by feeling the fear or walking through the fear. So where are you now?
Oh, Well, I’m, first of all, I am doing a lot of things that were never ever in my mind, anything that I would ever be doing. For example, I I had an amazing opportunity to interview the president of Mexico, the country Mexico.
We’re good, yeah, and interviewing in every stars on the red carpet, you know, and it’s yeah, those things like those are the kind of the fun things that I’ve been doing. But I spent my whole life saying I’m not a reader, I’m not a writer, I’m not a reader, I’m not a writer because I had that fear of judgment right. And so I am now in a 22-time number one international best-selling author and I have a publishing company. These are things that I never even Do you write.
Yeah, like wait what.
Hold on. Why are we just finding this out at the end? What kind of You’re writing?
well, we do. You have a nom. You’re talking about toxic workplaces and mine is not toxic because no, but now we’re curious.
Curious inquiring minds must know.
Well, I mostly do Collaboration books, you, where we bring people together to share their stories. Each person writes one story and my whole mission like my mission in life, since I’ve become a reformed person is, you know, to empower people to share their stories with the world, to make a greater impact on the planet. And so I have this mission of empowering five million women and men to write their stories World hit number 248,. But you know what? You got to start with one step, and so that’s where we are, and it’s been just absolutely Incredible being able to you read their stories and share them, reading their transformation, because our books are all about Inspiration, motivation, you, and moving from here to there, like, how did, how did you get from here to there?
We want those stories because this planet, man, we’ve got so much mess, that stuff going on that I want to do what I can to get that positivity out there into the world. Remember, I said I was addicted to positivity. I’m still addicted to being around positive people. I don’t want, I don’t, I don’t want to spend any time around that negative stuff that I spent decades around, you know.
I really appreciate you coming on and sharing. Do you have any additional information you want to give us, like how can people find you? What platforms are you on? Any last minute?
Thank, you want to share.
Well, thanks so much for having me and it’s been great. Reminiscing about Toxic environments, you know and it started in the household, right that toxicity like you mentioned, and you know I carried that around myself and not realizing at the time that I was part of the problem, of course. But, yeah, you can find me at action takers publishing comm. Action takers publishing comm and my name, linda sunshine West. L Y NDA, sunshine West that’s how I am on all the socials you know Facebook, linkedin, instagram, clubhouse and All those places and I just love connecting with people. So if anybody wants to, if you’re looking at writing a book or you just want to talk about some of the fears that you’re Experiencing and want me to help you through those two, you can reach out to me. It’s awesome, I’d love to help.
Yeah, I love that we really appreciate the time that you’ve taken to have a chat with us. I think it’s been really awesome and you know we wish you the best going forward with your fear domination yeah.
That’s a good one, you got trademark that.
We just did fear domination. Okay, well, thank you so much. I identified so much with your story, Linda.
Yeah sounds good. I can’t wait to get it out there. And thank you so much. It really has. It’s been interesting because I don’t usually talk about those toxic things, so it has been interesting for me and just like bringing up that stuff, you know.
Thank you have a cup of tea, and just remember that you have a meal, tea, right your feet, yeah, yeah, and that you’re a fear dominator, you dominate here, Dominate 50. Yeah, yeah okay, thanks so much, linda. We’ll talk to you. Thank you, have a great one. Thank you, bye.